Baquedano # 411 Arica - Putre
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Day 1. Airport – City Tour
The first day starts with the reception at the airport, where your visit to the north of Chile begins. Mayuru Tour is characterized by personal and professional attention with the highest quality standards. Our aim is to fulfill all your requirements at the best on this circuit.
We will bring you to you accommodation in the city of Arica, and from there we will start a tour through this fascinating city.
City Tour through Arica
We will leave the hotel and start our tour through Arica, known for its ancient architecture and thanks to its enjoyable climate destination for thousands of tourists every year. We are going to visit one of the most valued National Monuments, the cathedral of San Marcos, which is located at a beautiful terrace facing the ocean. This architectonic opus designed by the Frenchman Gustavo Eiffel was built in the gothic neoclassic style.
Also we are going to visit another architectonical marvel, declared National Monument in 1977, the Ex-customs of Arica. From this historical building, also constructed by the famous architect Gustavo Eiffel, you have a wonderful panoramic view over the Morro of Arica in all its resplendence. Nowadays, the Ex-customs in the “House of the Culture of Arica” (“Casa de la Cultura de Arica”), and it results to be an attractive cultural center full of exhibitions and works of various artists. Our circuit continues to one of the marvels of the south coast of the city, the Ex-Island Alacran at the foot of the Morro. It was converted into a beautiful peninsula and declared National Monument on December 13th of 1985. Our next stop is the beach Lisera, a lovely bay that is known for its beautiful surroundings and the best sand in the region since the 60s. Another beach we are going to visit and that will surprise you with its black sand is the beach Arenillas Negras, a beach unique in the area and famous for the exceptional dark color of its sand.
After enjoying this beautiful beaches and bays, you will get the opportunity to captivate your eyes with a view over the city from the impressive Morro of Arica. Enjoy a historic scenery, full of mystic, majesty and beauty, without doubt it will be an unforgettable experience.
We continue our tour to the Terminal Asoagro. This typical market of Arica, located in the coastal desert, was created 19 years ago by its merchants and producers. On a walk through the alleys you can get to know the different kinds of fruits and vegetables that grow in the fertile valleys of the region (like the black olive of Azapa) and also the products that are imported from the neighboring countries. Afterwards, we continue to the prodigious Azapa Valley, which is popular for its enormous archaeological development with more than 10.000 years of history. Here you can find surprising geoglyphs like on the Cerro Sombrero (Hut Mountain) or the Geoglyphos de la Tropilla. The following stop will be the Cerro Sagrado (Holy Mountain), a hill that also presents geoglyphs of mythological figures. The viewing point Las Llosyas is the best place to observe these beautiful geoglyphs.
We are going to visit the Archaeological Museum of San Miguel of Azapa which contains some of the most relevant patrimonial relicts of the archaeology in Chile: The most ancient mummies in the world that belong to the Chinchorro culture and are more than 10.000 years old. Finally, after getting to know the mystic that surrounds the fascinating city of Arica, appreciating its ancient architecture and the spectacular Chinchorro-culture we will return to your hotel.
Day 2. Arica – Socoroma – Putre
We will leave the city for the prodigious Lluta Valley, natural exit of the highlands to the ocean. The river that flows through this valley, the river Lluta, is the only one in the region that leads to the ocean and originates in the high cordillera. Here you can get to know various geoglyphs that represent animals, humans and abstract forms. We will stop in the very first settlement of the valley, Poconchile. This town is surrounded by fields of alfalfa and well known for its church, Iglesia de San Gerónimo, which was declared national monument, due to its impressive beauty preserved since the 17th century.
Our way leads us to a canyon named after its vegetation, the candelabra cactuses that are typical for the desert. The branches are usually to find on the upper part of the plant, therefor the name. Also, you will get to know one of the most important archaeological complexes in the area, the fort Pukara de Copaquilla, declared national monument and surrounded by an impressive canyon of about 150m of depth.
We will stop at the Tambo Sapahuira to have lunch, are you will get the possibility to try the typical food of the Chilean highlands. Our excursion through the north then continues to the village of Socoroma, outstanding for its architecture and its beautiful green terraces. The second day of the tour finishes with the arrival in Putre (3500m over sea level).
Day 3. Putre – National Park Lauca – Lake Chungara – Putre
Our third day starts in Putre, and our destination is the National Park Lauca with an expanse of 137.883 hectare, a biosphere reserve that covers the foothills and the highlands in the northeast of the region of Arica and Parinacota. To get to this wonderful world in the height, we start with a hike through the sector of the caves. In this district you can get to know the paradisiacal landscapes of the highlands, 4.300m over sea level, and you can observe the so called Vizcachas that come out at dusk and dawn. What makes this hike special is the mystical ambience that surrounds the region. It’s said that there are men living in this area that are over 9000 years old, and sometimes they are still seen, walking the ways of the highlands. They are said to be the very first visitors who appreciated the beauty of the landscapes.
Our journey continues to the viewing point of Chucuyo, which is located in the center of the National Park Lauca that contains a unique ecosystem and an extraordinary flora and fauna. Also, we will stop at the viewing point lagoon Cotacotani. This lagoon consists of different lakes and vulcano islands that are evidence of the high volcanic activity of this zone. The viewing point is placed in the middle of the wetlands and is perfect to observe the great variety of plants and animals, such as the parinas, ducks, vicuñas, vizcachas and taguas.
We will be moving on to one of the most beautiful attractions of the National Park Lauca, the lake Chungara, which is located over 4.500 meters over sea level and is on eof the highest lakes in the world. It’s magical beauty and the marvelous reflection of the volcano Parinacota amaze thousands of tourists every year. On the other side of the lake you can see the famous volcanoes Payachata (twins), about which many legends are told due to their mystical appearance. For example people say, that they house an old treasure of the Inca, and others say that they are a couple in love.
Furthermore we will visit the village of Parinacota, which was declared national monument. Here you can discover the ancient architecture of the highlands. The old houses are all made of adobe and have a great historical value, for they contain relicts of the time of colonialism and are symbols of the Aymara-culture. At the end of our excursion we enjoy a bath in the thermal springs of Jurasi, located in the middle of a small canyon. They are well known for its medicinal purposes, for example they are recommended in case of rheumatism.
After enjoying all these different landscapes and regaining our strength with a warm thermal bath, we will return to Putre, where the third day of our tour ends.
Day 4. Putre – Salt Lake Surire – National Park Vulcano Isluga – Colchane
The fourth day of the tour again starts in Putre, leaving for the National Reserve of the Vicuñas which as its name implies, was created to preserve the vicuña. The flora and fauna of this place are very attractive as they offer a great variety species, besides being surrounded by beautiful scenery of the Chilean Altiplano. Furthermore, in the National Reserve of the Vicuñas, you'll discover majestic sceneries and the towns of Ancuta and Guallatire located at 83 km of Putre at the foot of the volcano Guallatiri. Here you can enjoy the beautiful view of its peak white of snow.
The trip continues, reaching the most captivating destination of this tour, the salt lake Surire. It is located at 4,200 m above sea level. Surire was declared national monument and is characterized by its enormous majesty. The presence of salt deposits of intense white color contrast with the pure blue of the water of the lagoons, without doubt a delight to your eyes. The salt lake of Surire also preserves the existence of valuable species such as the ostrich (ñandu), flamingo, vicuña, alpaca and the llama, among others. The preciousness of this natural attraction is increased by the presence of different species of flamingos (3 of 6 species that exist) that may live here according to the extraordinary ecosystem. Around noon, after enjoying this wonderful ambience, we will have a delicious picnic at the thermal baths of Polloquere. Here you may enjoy a relaxing bath.
We will continue the tour to the Nationl Park Vulcano Isluga, located more than 4.000m over sea level, crossing the paths of the highlands, the desert and the pampa. The diversity of ecology is impressive and allows you to appreciate different landscapes within the park, such as the lagoon Arabilla, surrounded by small bofedales (wetlands) and forests of Queñua (typical tree of the highlands).
Furthermore we will be visiting the altiplanic communes of Enquelga and Isluga that are located in the middle of a bofedal where Llamas and Alpacas feed themselves. Also, the churches made out of adobe are very beautiful to see. Finally we will get to our destination Colchane, village at the border to Bolivia at an altitude of 3.750m that represents the Aymara-culture.
Day 5. Colchane – Cariquima – Nitrate Mines – Iquique or Arica
We will leave Colchane in the morning. Close to the border on the flanks of the mountains you will discover the giant cactuses that reach about 10 meters and can only be found in this area at an altitude of more than 3.700m. We will get to the town of Cariquima, a different model of the ancient Aymara life where the central meeting point of the indigenous cultures is located. It is famous for many centuries for its handcrafts. Also we are going to visit Chusmiza, a paradise at 3.200m over sea level surrounded by marvelous nature.
Afterwards, you will get to know the biggest representation of a human being in the world: The Giant of the Atacama, located at the flanks of the Cerro Unita (Unita Mountain) some kilometers of the village Huara. This geoglyph attracts thousands of tourists every year and is considered one of the most impressive geoglyphs in the north of Chile. Appreciate this figure that measures 86 meters, representing a pre-inca human. There are many interpretations due to the mystic of this place, for example people say that the geoglyph represents a god of an ancient culture that habited the area around 1.000 and 1.400 a.C. We will stop in the village of Huara, a place with excellent climatic and geographic conditions that convert it to a paradise for adventure- and eco-tourism. Here we will have lunch.
Continuing our trip we will arrive at the most impressive nitrate mine of Chile. Humberstone was declared World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO. This ghost town was converted into an attraction visited by national and international tourists. Rust and ruins symbolize the beauty, remoteness and silence of this ex-nitrate-mine. While walking the duty streets under the sun and exploring the abandoned houses you will find various marks and signatures left by the numerous visitors that have come to discover this fantastic town in the pampa of Tamarugal. Walking through the town you can find a swimming pool, a tennis field, one single shop and the administration office. With this extraordinary experience in between the loneliness and the silence of this place, we will finish the last day of our tour though the north of Chile reaching the city of Iquique or Arica, according requirement. Here the tour ends.
An unforgettable adventure full of different landscapes and and unique ecosystem in the world. The visit of various National Monuments converts this trip to a sensational experience, including everything from examples of the Andean cultures to a stop at the nitrate mine of Humberstone that was declared World Cultural Heritage.